Beginner Bear Tan

Submitted by Jerry on 8/15/06 at 12:38 AM. ( )

I recently took in a black bear from my cousin to tan for rug mount and was wondering what kind of tan to use. I have tanned several whitetail capes but I havent quite got the hang of thinning on my rotary knife yet so I cut holes. I tan my whitetail capes with McKenzie tan but I am afraid to get the bear skin real thin becuase cutting a hole. Should I use McKenzie tan or another kind because I am kind of worried about the penetration of the McKenzie tan with the skin being thicker than normal. I was thinking about Lutan but I'm kind of afraid it might be hard to use because of it having to be dissolved in the water. Please help.

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You should send it out

This response submitted by Dr.Z on 8/15/06 at 12:53 AM. ( )

Tanning bears for rugs is not as simple as for mounting.Shaving holes and thin spots where the hair comes out are difficult to repair.especially on thin haired bears.Rugs must also have some flexibily,not so important with heads and L/S...

Send it out

This response submitted by Todd K on 8/15/06 at 1:44 AM. ( )

I use Arlington Cape in Ohio for tanning and Connie Jorden at Jorden's Bear Den in Pennsylvania for the rug work. They both do excellent work.


This response submitted by Bill @ Hog Heaven on 8/15/06 at 6:02 AM. ( )

to the good Dr. & Todd K.

tanning a bear

This response submitted by Laurier on 8/15/06 at 9:30 AM. ( )

Jerry: tanning a bear is not a very hard task to do . WE do a lot of bear rugs every year. If you would like call meat (705)476-0483 and I will walk you through it.

Laurier, please stop, will you

This response submitted by George on 8/15/06 at 11:18 AM. ( )

If it's not "very hard" then why would he nead to call you? The guy admits to be a BEGINNER. Even us seasoned professionals know enough to SEND THE HIDE OUT. For the time and effort required to tan a bear, you actually make money by sending it out and having it professionally done.

Now, Jerry, if you're intent on doing it yourself, the McKenzie tan will work (I'd suggest the Lutan anyway) but that hide is going to need degreasing. Once you've tanned it, you're still going to have to break it and there goes your time. That's why you send it out. While someone else is tanning it and rugging it, you're making a couple hundred bucks extra and don't even touch it. You're also mounting up a couple dozen deer instead of breaking that hide and trying to stretch it, cut it,mount it, felt it and sew the fringe on. SMART taxidermist allow "specialists" to do this work and price it accordingly for the service you're rendering.

YOST Fur Dressing...

This response submitted by Mary's Wholesale Rugmaking on 8/15/06 at 11:23 AM. ( )

.. in Sturgeon Bay,Wisconcin does a wonderful job on tanning bears for rugs. I have been using them for many years. You need the hide to be soft, supple and have a lusturous hair coat. Some say they can do that with a home tan, but if this is your first bear rug, you are best to send it to a professional tanner. If you don't have a tumbler to break the leather fiber up, your skin will dry stiff, which is fine if it is going on a form but not good for a rug.
Kind regards,


This response submitted by lee on 8/15/06 at 11:30 AM. ( )

attempt to change the oil in your car either! take it to a proffesional! why do people insits that tanning a bear is so difficult? the only thing different about a bear is degreasing. and thats not complicated. why not send all you work out, then you can work a regular job too!

I Wish I Had A $1...

This response submitted by Old Fart on 8/15/06 at 12:47 PM. ( )

...For every "home tanned" bear that's been brought into my shop by someone who wanted me to, "do something to fix it"! Usually I can smell them before they come through the door. SEND IT OUT!

LOL Old Fart, what do WE know

This response submitted by George on 8/15/06 at 12:57 PM. ( )

You can take to water but you can't teach them it's wet. LOL


This response submitted by mhk on 8/15/06 at 1:03 PM. ( )

.. go to the doctor if you fracture your leg! Bite down on a modeling tool and set it yourself! NEVER go to the dentist if your tooth is aching to the point of driving you mad! Get a pair of needle nose pliers and yank it out! LOL...Professionals...yuck...what do they know..who needs them! Just think of all the time you will save to work in your shop! LOL

Here we go again George

This response submitted by Laurier on 8/15/06 at 4:02 PM. ( )

So you just do not understand now do you George.Not everybody can trust a tannery like you do.As Lee said it is not hard to do.Gerge you know so dam much about tanning then why do you DP skins and your bear go for tanning.

I do not trust a tannery, because they know how to tan a skin they are not a taxidermist.

You say all that time you save by sending out the bears and make hunderds of dollars on something else !

Well I think you are full of @#$%^ all the time to flesh that skin out by hand then salt dry it , crate it , permits,shipping , so they can just pickel , tan , oil and finish it.

Well this is why I get these new taxidermist to call , easier to explain , no back and forth e-mails, and I've tanned thousands of bears over the years and MANY other taxidermist do it this way, as do some TANNERIES.
So George do not knock something you know little or nothing about.

I am not kncking tanneries but to take a salted skin and soak it in SALT WATER over night , give me a brack , at least if it was in a pickeling solution it would protect the skin at the same time.

Take an African salt dried skin and soak it in salt water over night as the tannery goes home for the night , and when your skin comes back with hair slippage , and you call your client and tell them about
what your tannery did to their skin , lets see how gets the blame , you or the tannery ?

Remember one thing , when a skin is in your care , you have control of it , once you send it out , ytou just lost control of that skin.

Yes tanneries get bad skin from some taxidermist ,and yes some tanneries do scrw up as well.

So it's not a perfect world after all.
So George you keep to your DP and if other taxidermist would like MY OPINION then let then call me.
Beleive me George not every one thinks your the taxidermy god!


This response submitted by Tom on 8/15/06 at 4:18 PM. ( )

You are still an idiot. 1000's of bears? North Bay has been almost shot out, and i've seen your work, and it "stink's", just like your tanned bears! George is right, take 'em in, then farm them out, money for nothing. Only an idiot tans bears for rugs at home!

But Laurier, how do you REALLY feel about me?

This response submitted by George on 8/15/06 at 4:34 PM. ( )

Tanneries are run by people who have much more at stake than you do. Why would I trust YOUR information? It's free, but that's even more reason to run and hide. I have no clue where you and your DP came from, but maybe you should bring your tired old ass (after doing "thousands of bears") down here to the states and see how we have to play the game. Home tanning big game as you're blowing wind about just invites visits from people you'd rather not see down here. And only an old fool would ever suggest that a self-admitted beginner attempt to do a bear rug in shop. But now I'm on the verge of repeating myself, aren't I?


This response submitted by lee on 8/15/06 at 4:35 PM. ( )

so your saying anybody who tan's their own bear is an idiot?

For a rug

This response submitted by tom on 8/15/06 at 4:44 PM. ( )

Yep. For the cost of a tannery vs. all the time to do it yourself? You cant be that busy in the shop to waste time on bear "rug's", when you can farm them out. Tell me, how much money do you save doing it yourself?


This response submitted by lee on 8/15/06 at 4:59 PM. ( )

at the wildlife gallery with shipping both ways a 5 foot bear will run you 145.00 give or take (including shipping) I have about one hour invested in shaving a bear and the regular tanning steps. Mabey 15.00 max on tanning supplies. so you do the math and tell me how much money im saving.

Guys please...

This response submitted by Todd K on 8/15/06 at 5:23 PM. ( )

Jerry just wanted some help! Jerry, if you are not comfortable with doing this project yourself send this one out. Take care of your cousin's trophy and later on maybe buy a bear skin or even some coon skins and practice on them. At least this way you wont have to worry about messing up someones else's skin. Then when you feel confident of your ability to do this task you can profit a little more.
Good Luck
No harm meant guys!


This response submitted by oldshaver on 8/15/06 at 8:37 PM. ( )

If your tanning bears yourself, you have never seen what a GOOD BEAR TAN looks like! Responses like this really piss me off, because I know they are full of SH1T!

I agree w/ Old Spice!

This response submitted by ej on 8/15/06 at 9:09 PM. ( . )

They're All idiots! Full of them selves!

If you got time to tan your own

This response submitted by Dr.Z on 8/15/06 at 9:23 PM. ( )

you don't have enough work and are probably making peanuts.Iused to tan all of my own stuff and I knew if I cut a hole I had to fix it so I was careful and got spoiled by the skins I was using.As I began to get farther behind the light came on.I still do a little tanning ,but I stretch way more hide than I shave now.WE can only hope that light comes on for some of these doitall guys.Remember the specialized you are the more productive you are.


This response submitted by Jerry on 8/16/06 at 12:08 AM. ( )

I am going to send it out, not because of the time or money but because of my experience.

Agree to disagree

This response submitted by todd on 8/17/06 at 2:15 PM. ( )

I use to send my bears to tanneries all the time. I started to experiment with different tanning processes, and all of you can take this or leave it, my bear rugs came out softer and nicer than the ones I sent to K&K and Sivko, as for the time, you have to shave, and salt before sending anyway, after that there is not that much time involved and I make more money on turn around and not one of my mounts stink.

May I add my .02? Try to look at it this way...

This response submitted by KIM on 8/18/06 at 12:06 AM. ( )

1. IF you have no experience and do NOT know the proper techniques, methods, formulas, if you do not have at LEAST a six foot (drop)tumbler, quality oil, if you do NOT know how to correctly flesh, split, turn, DEGREASE a bear,...DO NOT DO IT YOURSELF. Get the training and knowledge first!

2. Most professionals that are not TRUE tanners, send the Bears and other large, pain in the rear, time consuming, messy critters out to tanneries while they focus on other work.

This is how you make the BASIC choice to tan it yourself or pay someone else to do it for you...Unless of course, you are a glutton for punishment and other nasty realities of taxidermy life.

Only my two cents worth. ...I could be wrong...KIM

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